McGuinness 'relaxed' over Maze DUP chair

Published Monday, 10 September 2012
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Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has ended any suggestion of controversy over the appointment of a DUP member as chairman of the Maze/Long Kesh Development Corporation.

McGuinness 'relaxed' over Maze DUP chair
Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness with Terence Brannigan (© Michael Cooper)

While Sinn Féin raised the issue of Terence Brannigan not declaring such an interest when he applied for the board position, Mr McGuinness has since said he's relaxed about the situation.

Mr Brannigan - who is a DUP member, chairman of Glentoran Football Club and a director of the creative arts charity The Pushkin Trust - was confirmed in his new position by OFMdFM on Monday.

The future usage of the former prison site outside Lisburn has sparked much debate since it was closed 12 years ago, and the First Minister has again stressed there will not be a shrine to terrorists.

Peter Robinson told UTV that the 347-acre site, with development potential, "should be bringing in hundreds of jobs".

He added: "All sensible people will recognise that we've committed ourselves at every level, that there will be no shrine at the maze.

"What we do want is to exploit the economic potential of the site and also the peace-building aspect of it, where there's great potential for us to have a role in peace building and I would have thought that's something that everybody in this community should welcome."

I am confident that the experience and skills mix of the Board members will help transform the site.

First Minister Peter Robinson

The DUP leader also explained the remit of the other Maze board members.

"The Development Corporation, under the leadership of Mr Brannigan, will be tasked to maximise the economic development potential of this valuable regeneration site," Mr Robinson said.

"Challenges lie ahead, particularly given the economic climate we now find ourselves in.

"But it is imperative we grasp rare opportunities, such as the regeneration of Maze/Long Kesh, to aid growth and promote prosperity."

Mr McGuinness further said that the Stormont leadership is "committed to maximising the economic, historical and reconciliation potential of the site - for the benefit of all sections of our community here and further afield".

He added: "As plans progress, the regeneration of the former prison site will send out a powerful, physical signal highlighting how society here has been transformed and regenerated in moving beyond conflict."

© UTV News
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14 Comments
Stephen in Belfast wrote (718 days ago):
I hope the voice and input of Loyalist ex-prisoners is going to be taken into account when this centre is built??? The worst thing future generations could be taught this was simply a case of good (prison officers) versus evil (IRA prisoners). The stories of Gusty Spence, David Ervine, Billy Hutchinson and other Loyalists who brought peace to Northern Ireland must be included!
Mike in New York wrote (719 days ago):
I cannot wait for the chance to kneel and pray at the spot were brave Bobby Sands and his 9 brave companions gave there lives. Make no mistake, it was their deaths that brought about peace.
Davey in Lisburn wrote (719 days ago):
Again the DUP spin. It will be a shrine to IRA terrorists especially those who commited suicide by refusing food. It has turned out that a vote for the DUP is a vote for SF to keep their dictatorship in power.
henry in 6 counties north of ireland wrote (719 days ago):
all these loyalist posters moaning about the maze being a shrine to terrorist and yet not a word about the shrine to a double killer at asda stores on the shore rd belfast, maybe he was a hero in their eyes, how bigot is that?
Ryan in Belfast wrote (720 days ago):
A shrine to terrorists? Its a CONFLICT RESOLUTION CENTRE. People have to accept the fact that paramilitaries, both loyalist and republican played a great role in the troubles and have a very important role in the peace process. The majority of people against this is either hardline loyalists or people who are completey uninformed of the facts. People, especially those in Lisburn, should be happy with the influx of jobs this is going to create, thats what both Sinn Fein and DUP are mainly focused on.
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